Well it’s turning into a good World Cup tournament. England have scraped through the dreaded group stage which has seen some big beasts wounded and one or two of the aging ones fall. Africa’s put on quite a show but there have been some highs and lows.
So Fabio finally made up his mind this evening and waved goodbye to Theo Walcott, Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone, Michael Dawson, Darren Bent, Leighton Baines and Adam Johnson. Umm. Which means that Shaun Wright-Phillips, Emile Heskey, Matthew Upson, Joe Cole, Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick and Stephen Warnock do make the World Cup squad. Umm again. I don’t know about you but it’s slightly disappointing don’t you think? He’s clearly gone for the guys who have proved themselves to him in the past over current form – something he said wouldn’t happen. I suppose when it comes to the crunch moments managers always tend to play the percentages. It’s easy to be an armchair manager without the expectations of a nation on our shoulders but one or two of his decisions today have left me bemused.
Well it’s one of those top weekends and a bit for sport; the kind to drive wives and girlfriends nuts. First up we’ve got the first test between the Lions and the dirty cheating Springboks. Could be a bruising encounter. Then it’s the final of the T20 competitions with the England women’s team shaming their male peers by actually making the final. Think I’ll be rooting for Sri Lanka in the men’s final v Pakistan because of that dreadful attack on their team bus just a few weeks ago. Royal Ascot comes to a conclusion, not that I have much interest. Then it’s the British Grand Prix tomorrow, possibly the last to be held at Silverstone. Win this one and Britain’s Jenson Button’s would probably have the world title sown up. There’s also the US Open which is being played out in a weather system not untypical of one that settles over Manchester from April to March. That probably means a win for some obscure American therefore. And finally it’s the start of Wimbledon on Monday with the not very likeable Andrew Murray probably having his best shot at winning the elusive men’s title for we Brits, following Nadal’s withdrawal. A good chance then for home favourites to do well – which probably means I’ve put a hex on them all now. But even though we’re spending hours on the road this week-end travelling up to N Wales to see old friends A&M, I’ll still be intrigued by all the action. Come on you Brits (and Sri Lankans).
ps Well as British success goes that was a pretty rubbish weekend. Only the fantastic women’s cricket team managed to salvage some pride for the home nation. And somehow Man Utd also managed to lose another world class scorer over the weekend despite offering a 5 year deal at £120k pw and meeting the transfer asking price of £25.5m. Apparently it was ‘too little, too late’. Sigh. It sort of makes me wish that I supported teams and individuals with absolutely no hope of international sporting success (eg Wales and Craig Bellamy) just to keep expectations in check……. only joking Snowdonians.
There’s a realistic chance that after this weekend we’ll have two more World Champions from this country; the England rugby team of course and Lewis Hamilton representing the UK in the F1 Championship. All they have to do respectively is a) beat the team who beat them 36-0 in the pool stage and absolutely mullahed them in two tests before the RWC and b) just beat the two best drivers in the world with more experience than himself. Easy. Continue reading